Here in Northern California, it is the tail end of winter. I realize many of you will scoff at the idea of California claiming to even have winter. It never snows, rarely dips below 32 degrees F, and when we think of blizzards, we picture a blended, frothy beverage.
Tomorrow is Daylight savings time, which means, let’s see… spring forward, fall back. So it looks like we will lose an hour’s sleep tomorrow morning. Alas, spring is beckoning.
This change also signals the winding down of winter squashes. That does not really break my heart. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the hearty pumpkin flesh, but I long for colors other than orange, perhaps green asparagus, red radishes, or purple endive.
So as a loving farewell to the winter squash season, allow me to indulge in butternut squash ravioli – three ways.
Note: If you prefer ready-made or frozen butternut squash ravioli, you can click here to skip down to the sauces.
Otherwise, here are instructions for the filling and the pasta. Enjoy!
Butternut Squash Filling: (for about 2 dozen ravioli)
1 medium butternut squash, roasted (about 3 cups)
½ cup ricotta cheese, drained of excess liquid in a strainer
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
5-6 fresh sage leaves, chopped (can use 2 Tbls. of dried sage)
½ cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place cut side down on greased baking pan. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until a fork goes into the squash flesh easily.
- Cool to the touch and scoop out the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Discard skin.
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add shallot and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add sage leaves and cook for 1 minute on low. Add butternut squash and ricotta. Stir and heat through. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan.
- If you end up with extra filling, it freezes well, and can be used for your next batch of ravioli.
Pasta for ravioli: Makes about 2 dozen ravioli
– 100 grams all purpose flour
– 2 medium eggs
– a pinch of salt
Making the dough
1. Pour the flour in a metal bowl and form a little well in the center. Crack eggs in another bowl, beat slightly with a fork and add a pinch of salt.
2. Add the eggs to flour, using your hands to mix, sort of pressing down and then stirring with your fingers.
3. Once the eggs are fairly well incorporated, dump the dough onto a lightly floured board.
4. Knead for 5 minutes until the dough is uniform in color and texture. It will be smooth and elastic.
5. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Rolling the dough:
Using a pasta machine, roll out the dough into long sheets about 1/16 inch thick or on the second to last setting on the pasta machine.
Cutting the dough:
Cut off any round edges to form a rectangle. Put a teaspoon-sized ball of butternut squash filling every inch along the length of the rectangle close to one edge of the dough. Fold the dough lengthwise over the filling. Press the dough down around the edges of the filling, forming little pockets. Cut into individual ravioli with a ravioli cutter or a pasta rolling wheel.
Cooking the ravioli:
Heat 4 quarts of salted water and bring to a boil. Drop the ravioli in the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Scoop out ravioli and place directly into one of the following sauces: Note: these sauces are delicious on any pasta!
SAUCE #1: Butter and Sage Sauce with Dried Cranberries
Melt 3 Tablespoons butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add 5 – 6 fresh sage leaves chopped into small pieces, a handful of pine nuts and 1/4 cup dried cranberries. Stir and heat for 2 minutes to soften the cranberries. When ravioli are done, drain and place in the sauce. Stir to coat ravioli in the sauce. Heat for 2-3 minutes and serve immediately.
SAUCE #2: Lemon Cream Sauce
– 2 large lemons
– 1 cup heavy cream (can substitute almond milk)
– Parmesan cheese
– salt and pepper to taste
- Using a vegetable peeler, slice the rind from the lemons and cut into small Julienne pieces, about 2 inches long and 1/4 inch wide.
- Squeeze the juice of the two lemons.
- Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil and add ravioli. Cook for 5 minutes if fresh, or if using packaged ravioli, cook according to directions.
- Meanwhile, heat a medium-sized skillet and add the lemon juice. Add the heavy cream or almond milk. Stir and cook on low until it thickens a bit, about 5 minutes. Don’t let it come to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Drain ravioli and add to heated lemon sauce, stirring well to coat pasta being careful not to break the ravioli. Heat on low for 1-2 minutes.
Serve on a platter. Garnish with Julienne lemon rinds, and serve with a side of grated Parmesan cheese.
SAUCE #3: Walnut Pesto Sauce
– 1 clove garlic
– 2/3 cup walnuts, toasted
– 2 cups basil leaves, loosely packed
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– 2/3 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
– 1 lemon, zested and juiced
– salt and pepper
In a food processor, mix garlic, walnuts and basil leaves until roughly chopped. Drizzle in the olive oil and pulse a few times. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add Pecorino, lemon zest and juice and mix well by hand. Add salt and pepper to taste. After cooking the ravioli, add to a large bowl with the pesto and stir. Top with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
Let me know which sauce is your favorite or if you have other sauce ideas. Buon appetito!